I used to think that early risers possessed some magical power that I would never be able to understand. I was partially right.
When a girlfriend of mine told me about Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, a book that was supposed to help you learn how to harness that magical power, I jumped at the chance to read it.
I had recently started my law firm, was a new mom in the throes of post-partum anxiety, was going through a bad break-up with my best friend, and felt like I was drowning. I needed a life raft.
But in my desperation to find something that would help me find a balance, I discovered that early risers typically do have something in their back pocket – it’s a morning routine that helps them get their sh** together before 8:00 a.m.
I initially committed to creating a Miracle Morning for myself for 30 days. And here I am, 2 ½ years later and still going strong.
Over that time, I have fine-tuned the steps that Hal outlines in his book and made them my own. They’ve become habits and I cherish my morning routine. In fact, my whole day feels “off” if I don’t carve out my morning “me time.”
But more than that, I credit my morning routine for helping me create a work-life balance in my life. By focusing on getting my mindset right in the morning, I set myself up to be more productive throughout the rest of the day. Because I feel like I can tackle whatever challenges life throws at me – and that positivity trickles through the rest of my day.
You have to actively work at creating some semblance of balance in your life – it won’t ever be perfect and some weeks work will prevail while others family time will. Let’s be real, you’ll never just find it. But if you are aware of the need to continually work at trying to create a balance, you’ll be light-years ahead of most people who don’t want to do the work.
So, here are the 5 things I do before 8:00 a.m. to help create a work-life balance in my life:
The very first thing I do when I wake up is drink 8 ounces of water while I put on my workout clothes. I’ve found that by drinking water I signal to my body that it’s time to get up and get moving. I still use the big pink mug that I brought home from the hospital after I had my daughter. I love it! I fill it up the night before and leave it on my bedside table so that I can have a drink if I get thirsty in the middle of the night and drink my 8 ounces when I wake up.
Plus, it puts me on the right track toward my required water intake every day (which is half your weight in ounces).
2. Meditation and Affirmations
I’m not going to lie, I used to think things like meditation and affirmations were woo woo bullsh**. Seriously. But I told myself I’d commit to the whole Miracle Morning process, so I tried it.
And I have to say, that taking 5-10 minutes to clear my head, say positive things to myself, and visualize myself accomplishing my goals is the BEST part of my day.
Because we are programmed to be in a state of negative self-talk. Be honest – how often do you say nice things to yourself? It’s a hard thing to reprogram – it takes practice and persistence.
But I had a realization that put things into perspective for me – if I wouldn’t talk that way to others, why the hell am I talking like that to myself?!
I close my eyes for 5 minutes, focus on my breathing, and repeat my affirmation to myself (whatever it is that day). Sometimes I think it, sometimes I say it out loud, it depends on what my schedule looks like for the day and what kind of mood I’m in. Do what feels right to you.
Insight Timer is a great free app to use if you have no idea where to start for meditation. And you can literally Google the word “affirmations” if you’re at a loss as to where to start. I recently snagged the Dreamer’s Deck and they’re ah-mazing.
3. Journal, Visualization, and Gratitude
The next step for me is to spend 5-10 minutes journaling and visualizing my goals.
This year I’m using Rachel Hollis’ Start Today Journal and I LOVE it. You journal your goals as if you’ve already achieved them – talk about visualizing, right? But it also takes it a step further and incorporates a gratitude practice into each day by having you write 5 things you’re thankful for.
The amazing thing about gratitude is that when you stop worrying about things and people that don’t matter and focus on the people and things that do, your whole outlook on life and business changes.
You don’t have to have some fancy journal for this part of your morning. Heck, even just paper and a pen will suffice. Just find what feels right to you.
Now that my head feels clear and I’m thinking about all the things I’m grateful for, I get my exercise on. Depending on the program I’m doing, that could be anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.
But I am forever grateful for my Netflix of workouts. Whether I’m in the mood for yoga, fast paced cardio, or weight training, there’s a program and trainer for my mood.
Plus, I avoid the pain of having to drive to the gym, wait for machines, and drive back home. Nope, I just commute 3 seconds to my workout area, hit play, and get my sweat on.
But if you’re a gym rat – you do you 😉
5. Personal Development
While I’m cooling down and starting to get dressed for then day (or getting my daughter ready if she’s woken up by now – she’s a super early riser), I listen to a podcast. There are SO many of them out there, so I can find something for whatever mood I’m in.
My absolute favorites right now are:
- Rise Podcast with Rachel Hollis
- Don’t Keep Your Day Job with Cathy Heller
- Goal Digger with Jenna Kutcher
- The Sunny Show with Sunny Lenarduzzi
- The Strategy Hour with Abagail and Emylee of the Boss Project (formerly Think Creative Collective)
- She’s Building Her Empire with Stacy Tuschl
Personal development has played a huge role in both my individual and business growth. It’s honestly my favorite part of my morning routine.
So, there you have it. 5 ways to help create a work-life balance in your life before 8:00 a.m. I generally follow this order of things but, you know, #momlife (and #entrepreneurlife). Some days can be a sh** show. You do what you can in the time that you have.
Cheering you on!